Farmers and industry representatives are paving the way for local students to find a career in agriculture with paid school holiday placements.
Coordinated by Bundaberg Fruit and Vegetable Growers (BFVG) in conjunction with Queensland Agriculture Workforce Network and Bundaberg Canegrowers, the school holiday job program connects students with local growers.
BFVG Industry Services Officer Kylie Jackson said the pilot program had been in place for two years and this year had extended to see six local schools participate.
She said the response from students at Bundaberg Christian College, Shalom College and Isis, Gin Gin, Bundaberg North and Bundaberg State High Schools was overwhelming.
“I received 45 applications which is a great outcome considering these students are only potentially being offered an entry level position and it is only school holidays,” Kylie said.
“We are hoping to expose students to the industry and encourage them to consider the agriculture industry as an option.
“If we capture them early enough, we hope to be able to drive subject selection towards agriculture for their senior years which would then hopefully drive them to higher education pathways on completion of school.”
Agriculture career experience
Kylie said it was invaluable experience for students who were looking to head straight in to work from school.
“The school holiday roles will help them determine exactly which areas [they are interested in] and help them build a practical, hands on pathway,” she said.
“Not only does this program give students an opportunity to earn some money in the school holidays but also helps with developing those employability skills such as writing applications, resumes and interview skills.”
There are currently 10 local businesses engaged with the program, with six to seven of those in a position to offer paid positions to students during the school holidays.
Each of the student applicants will now go through an interview process so that, where possible, they can be aligned with a grower or business that matches their skill or interest areas.
The roles will vary depending on the host business and their current work needs however Kylie said students could be placed in a variety of positions ranging from picking fresh produce to industry research.
Kylie also sits on the Bundaberg Region Youth Hub industry reference group and keeps that group up-to-date with initiatives being offered through the school holiday job program.
Applications for students to participate in the September School Holiday Job Program have now closed.
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